Need a Letter of Recommendation?

In the vast majority of cases, I am very happy to write recommendation letters, so please don’t be shy about asking for one (or many more than one)! However, if you want me to write a letter or letters for you there are several things that I need. I realize that the list is somewhat long, but just remember that the more information you can give me, the better a letter I can write!

Please also note that when you ask me to write a letter for you, I will be rather blunt about how strong a letter I think I can write for you. This is just to make sure that you are thinking about who the best, most-strategically-useful, letter writer would be for your particular application. I might, for example, say that I can write you a very strong letter – which is great! On the otherhand, I might tell you that the letter I could write for you wouldn’t be very in-depth when it comes to the skills relevant to what you are applying for. Remember that even if I say something like that, it doesn’t mean that I’m saying I won’t write it, and it also doesn’t mean you aren’t a strong applicant and awesome person. It might, for example, just mean we didn’t spend enough time together for me to have a large base of detailed knowledge about your personal strengths. However, regardless, in all cases, I’ll do my best to write the best letter for you that I can.

Regardless, here are the things I need to write the best letter that I can:

Key points:

Information I need to write a letter:

I need the following information, in electronic form (e.g., in pdf/MS-word/text-file/body-of-email form) that is sent to me in a single email. Please do not give me paper copies - it’s far easier for me to keep track of digital copies!

In addition, I strongly recommend sending me the following materials as well:

These are things that I don’t necessarily need when writing a letter, but if provided, they may help me write a letter that better ties in to your other application materials.

Adapted from the guidelines by Brian O’Shea